One of my very favorite things is to stumble upon a well dressed man on the streets of Seattle. I like it even more if that man is rocking a well fitted suit. Thoughtful dressers make me happy and I think they bring a little something to every person they engage with. It's especially gratifying when they are able to balance class with an effortless style and a nonjudgmental approach to the world.
Enter local acupuncturist and entrepreneur Brad Thompson.
At a recent show in Capitol Hill a guy in his mid 20's commented to him, "Man, you look like James Bond." Enough said.
Not only does he wear a suit and tie nearly every day, he also has a knack for finding new uses for old gems he finds at consignment stores. After much convincing, he agreed to share some of his views on style with us. After all, he is a helper at heart.
Poplin: I ask clients to share three words they'd like others to use to describe their personal style. What are your three key words?
Brad: Simple, subtle, and classic.
You are a very creative person. Can you give me a rundown of a few of the many things you do to express yourself?
My work can require a high level of expression. I also write music and occasionally play live shows. I enjoy building websites for friends and I keep a constant collection of Photoshop and Illustrator projects going to support my web designs. I love to cook. I also spend as much time as possible surfing and snowboarding.
You have your own acupuncture practice in Seattle. Most people don't think of an acupuncturist as someone who wears a suit and tie. Can you tell us a little about why you do that and how you think it affects the way people interact with you?
I try to dress professionally. I wear a suit and tie because I feel it's important to put my best foot forward. In medical school, my favorite professor (a London doctor and gentleman) impressed upon me the importance of dressing appropriately. I never knew him to wear anything but a crisp Saville three-piece suit and that practice made an impression on me. My current medical practice demands that my patients trust in me and my abilities, and I feel that dressing professionally does make a difference.
You have a natural confidence, depth and style, what tips would you give someone who is considering upping his style game but is apprehensive?
I actually don't pay much attention to style, but I do think it's important to understand some classic rules of professional attire. I only know a few, but they've helped me avoid some of the pitfalls of buttoned-up dressing. Here are some of my favorites:
- I like shopping at secondhand stores. One in particular that I really like here in Seattle is Le Frock. The most valuable lesson I've learned from buying secondhand is to try things on. If I don't try them on, I end up with items that look great on the hanger and then don't actually fit me. Those items are useless to me.
- Try cutting up old ties into pocket squares. When you're coordinating your pocket square with the rest of your outfit, try pairing a pocket square that shares a dominant color with either your shirt or your tie. And if your pocket square and your tie both have patterns, make sure the patterns are of a different scale.
- If you've exhausted the secondhand stores in your city, try heading out to nearby small towns and check out their Goodwill and consignment stores. You'll usually find some interesting things there, and there's much less competition when you get out of the city.
As a modest fella, it took a little convincing for Brad to see that his views on personal style would be useful to others. And that, Dear Reader, is a great lesson for us all. Don't underestimate the value of your own gifts and always be willing to share.
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